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New Books Spotlight: Graphic Lives

Leading up to Burlington’s Non-Fiction Comics Festival, we’re spotlighting new graphic biographies and memoirs here at UVM Libraries!

Check-out Keynote Speaker James Spooner’s memoir “The High Desert” and books by special guests Glynnis Fawkes, Jennifer Hayden, and the 2022 Vermont Reads book “The Most Costly Journey: Stories of Migrant Farmworkers in Vermont Drawn by New England Cartoonists”.

The Non-Fiction Comics Festival:

  • October 15, 2022 11:00 AM - 6:00 PM
  • With special events and workshops throughout the entire weekend!
  • Fletcher Free Library, 235 College Street, Burlington, VT

The first ever Non-Fiction Comics Festival will feature panel discussions, workshops, and exhibiting cartoonists creating non-fiction and autobiographical work.

View the schedule here:

Our books - 

Cover image of High Desert

The high desert by James Spooner
**NFCF 2022 Keynote Speaker
Located at the Howe Library

"Scene: Apple Valley, California, in the late eighties, a thirsty, miserable desert. Teenage James Spooner hates that he and his mom are back in town after years away. The one silver lining--new school, new you, right? But the few Black kids at school seem to be gangbanging, and the other kids fall on a spectrum of micro-aggressors to future Neo-Nazis. Mixed race, acutely aware of his Blackness, James doesn't know where he fits until he meets Ty, a young Black punk who introduces him to the school outsiders--skaters, unhappy young rebels, caught up in the punk groundswell sweeping the country. A haircut, a few Sex Pistols, Misfits and Black Flag records later: suddenly, James has friends, romantic prospects, and knows the difference between a bass and a guitar. But this desolate landscape hides brutal, building undercurrents: a classmate overdoses, a friend must prove himself to his white supremacist brother and the local Aryan brotherhood through a show of violence. Everything and everyone are set to collide at one of the year's biggest shows in town... Weaving in the Black roots of punk rock and a vivid interlude in the thriving eighties DIY scene in New York's East Village, this is the memoir of a budding punk, artist, and activist"

Cover image of Persephone's Garden

Persephone's garden by Glynnis Fawkes
**NFCF 2022 Special Guest
Located at the Howe Library

"A children's song inspires a love of Greek mythology in a young girl. A young woman finds a career in archeology and illustration. A young mother sees her daughter become a woman, as her own mother's memories are lost. Persephone's Garden is a deeply personal story and an inventive study of girlhood, womanhood and motherhood, through memory, history and mythology."

Cover image of the story of my tits

The story of my tits by Jennifer Hayden
**NFCF 2022 Special Guest
Located at the Dana Medical Library

"When Jennifer Hayden was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 43, she realized that her tits told a story. Across a lifetime, they'd held so many meanings: hope and fear, pride and embarrassment, life and death. And then they were gone. Now, their story has become a way of understanding her story: a journey from the innocence of youth to the chaos of adulthood, through her mother's mastectomy, her father's mistress, her husband's music, and the endlessly evolving definition of family. As cancer strikes three different lives, some relationships crumble while others emerge even stronger, and this sarcastic child of the '70s finally finds a goddess she can believe in"

Cover image of the most costly journey

The most costly journey : stories of migrant farmworkers in Vermont, drawn by New England cartoonists edited by Marek Bennett, Julia Grand Doucet, Teresa Mares, Andy Kolovos.
**Vermont Reads 2022 - The Most Costly Journey - Short Film & Discussion (NFCF 4:45pm - 5:45pm // Fletcher Room)
Located at the Howe Library, Silver Special Collections Library, and Dana Medical Library

"This non-fiction comics anthology presents stories of survival and healing told by Latin American migrant farmworkers in Vermont, and drawn by New England cartoonists as part of the El Viaje Más Caro Project-a health care outreach effort of the Open Door Clinic and UVM Extension Bridges to Health aimed at addressing the overlooked mental health needs of these vulnerable immigrants. Originally distributed to farm workers as individual Spanish language comic books, this collected edition brings the lives and voices-as well as the challenges and hardships-of these workers to an English-language audience, granting insight into the experiences and lives of the people vital to producing the food we eat. Featuring a foreword by Julia Alvarez (Afterlife), introduction by Stephen R. Bissette (Swamp Thing) and preface by project founder, nurse Julia Doucet, these inspiring stories grapple with issues encountered by migrant workers everywhere-isolation, separation, depression, substance abuse-even as they celebrate resilience, family, community, and the ability of each storyteller to direct their own healing narrative. The Most Costly Journey is a gripping work that draws together non-fiction cartooning, graphic medicine and ethnography, channeling the skills of health care practitioners, artists and ethnographers into helping alleviate the pain of others"

Cover image of Solutions & Other problems

Solutions and other problems by Allie Brosh
Located at the Howe Library

"Solutions and Other Problems includes humorous stories from Allie Brosh's childhood; the adventures of her very bad animals; merciless dissection of her own character flaws; incisive essays on grief, loneliness, and powerlessness; as well as reflections on the absurdity of modern life."

Cover image of the Realist

The realist. Last day on earth written and illustrated by Asaf Hanuka, translated from Hebrew by Yardenne Greenspan
Located at the Howe Library

"Through scenes both real and imagined, The Realist: Last Day on Earth examines the joys (and pitfalls) of the ongoing struggle to manifest art in a politically divisive world and even in the midst of a global pandemic. Hanuka's rich storytelling blends humor and pathos to deliver a nuanced and moving portrait of self, family, and society."

Cover image of Ducks: two years in the oil sands

Ducks : two years in the oil sands by Kate Beaton
Located at the Howe Library

"Katie heads out west to take advantage of Alberta's oil rush-part of the long tradition of East Coasters who seek gainful employment elsewhere when they can't find it in the homeland they love so much. Katie encounters the harsh reality of life in the oil sands, where trauma is an everyday occurrence yet is never discussed. Beaton's natural cartooning prowess is on full display as she draws colossal machinery and mammoth vehicles set against a sublime Albertan backdrop of wildlife, northern lights, and boreal forest. Her first full length graphic narrative, Ducks: Two Years in the Oil Sands is an untold story of Canada: a country that prides itself on its egalitarian ethos and natural beauty while simultaneously exploiting both the riches of its land and the humanity of its people."

Cover image of the Secret to superhuman strength

The secret to superhuman strength by Alison Bechdel
Located at the Howe Library, Silver Special Collections Library, and Dana Medical Library 

"From the author of Fun Home, a profoundly affecting graphic memoir of Bechdel's lifelong love affair with exercise, set against a hilarious chronicle of fitness fads in our times"

Cover image of Persepolis

Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi.
Located at the Howe Library

"Originally published to wide critical acclaim in France, where it elicited comparisons to Art Spiegelman's Maus, Persepolis is Marjane Satrapi's wise, funny, and heartbreaking memoir of growing up in Iran during the Islamic Revolution. In powerful black-and-white comic strip images, Satrapi tells the story of her life in Tehran from ages six to fourteen, years that saw the overthrow of the Shah's regime, the triumph of the Islamic Revolution, and the devastating effects of war with Iraq. The intelligent and outspoken only child of committed Marxists and the great-granddaughter of one of Iran's last emperors, Marjane bears witness to a childhood uniquely entwined with the history of her country. Persepolis paints an unforgettable portrait of daily life in Iran: of the bewildering contradictions between home life and public life and of the enormous toll repressive regimes exact on the individual spirit. Marjane's child's-eye-view of dethroned emperors, state-sanctioned whippings, and heroes of the revolution allows us to learn as she does the history of this fascinating country and of her own extraordinary family. Intensely personal, profoundly political, and wholly original, Persepolis is at once a story of growing up and a stunning reminder of the human cost of war and political repression. It shows how we carry on, through laughter and tears, in the face of absurdity. And, finally, it introduces us to an irresistible little girl with whom we cannot help but fall in love."

Cover image of Persepolis

Persepolis 2 : the story of a return by Marjane Satrapi
Located at the Howe Library

"The great-granddaughter of Iran's last emperor and the daughter of ardent Marxists continues her description of growing up in Tehran--a country plagued by political upheaval and vast contradictions between public and private life."